“Don’t change too much,” she [Mma Ramotswe] said gently. “We like you the way you are, Charlie.”…. She looked down. He had clasped his hands together, his fingers interlaced. It was a gesture, she thought, of unequivocal pleasure—pleasure at hearing what all of us wanted to hear at least occasionally: that there was somebody who liked us, whatever our fault, and liked us sufficiently to say so.
Reading The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series is like an annual visit to my favorite relatives. Afterwards my heart feels a little lighter, and I feel less cynical about the world. The recently released The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, the 12th book in the series, gave me that same feeling.
All the characters I have come to know and love are back. Mma Ramotswe investigates the deaths of two cows and later struggles with the ethical considerations of what she uncovers. In addition, her infamous white van has come back to haunt her. Grace Makusi is about to get married, but not listening to the advice of her talking shoes leads to a small disaster. Charlie, once again, has girl trouble. Mma Potokwane proves that the true currency in life is cake. Botswana continues to be an interesting setting.
I am not sure The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party is a standalone book; it has a lot of small references to previous stories. The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency—the first book in the series—was the book that made me want to read fiction again after a long break. I have given and loaned books in the series to friends and relatives. While some haven’t liked the slow pace, many have come to love the books as much as I have. Sometimes a person just needs to read a book where the characters are basically kind.